Thursday, April 9, 2015


It's been a challenging past couple of weeks. This is the time of year when seniors find out admissions decisions, and, if they are lucky enough to be accepted, they are also receiving financial aid awards. It's not looking good for us so far. There is a silver lining -- the financial aid awards have made clear that all this time, we have been rich beyond our dreams and have been completely unaware of it.  I've been reading my bank account balance incorrectly, and haven't noticed the invisible zeroes tacked on to the ends of the numbers. Those who staff financial aid offices can see those zeroes. I don't possess this ability.

I absolutely hate that my economic status plays such a powerful role in influencing my daughter's education. She's an amazing student with a terrific record, and she is so in love with learning, but money -- or lack thereof -- is going to be the biggest factor regarding what she does next with that brilliant brain of hers. So sad.

So what's a scrappy mom to do?  Channel the angst creatively, of course. Luckily, my angst reached its peak at the same time that I had a project due for October Afternoon:
When I shared the journaling with my daughter, she smiled. I think it made her feel a little better. In times of adversity, we have an opportunity to adapt, to transform, to grow. This is one of those times.
She'll learn something from this experience. Some of what she learns may leave her cynical, but I also hope that something positive will come from this.

As a senior, my college plans suddenly and drastically changed due to my parents' divorce, and I ended up footing the bill for college (I'm still paying those loans two decades later). When I share this with my students (some of whom find themselves in a similar situation), I always tell them that it was a struggle, but that by assuming the responsibility for my education, I owned my education in a way that I might not have if someone else had assumed that responsibility for me.  I pursued every opportunity, took the maximum number of credits each semester, learned as much as I could, and worked as hard as I could. I ended up graduating with highest honors, and I earned a free ride to grad school. Would that have happened otherwise?  I can't be sure. I'm inclined to say no.

I have a feeling that something good will come of this. Right now, the future seems nebulous, but in time -- perhaps someday in looking back -- it will all be clear why this happened as it did and where it was leading.


  1. We have two daughers - one graduated from college last year and one is currently a college junior. The first time we completed the FAFSA, my husband and I broke out into hysterical laughter when we found out our "expected family contribution". Sure...perhaps if we stopped paying our mortgage, our bills and stopped eating we might come close to what we were expected to contribute.'s tough. Sending along best wishes to all of you!

  2. I'm so sorry. It's so frustrating isn't it?
    I paid for my college as well and had to leave my first school of choice after my freshman year because "my parents made too much money" so my financial aid package was cut in half.
    even though they weren't paying.
    But they did as much as they could here and there throughout college and I appreciated it.
    And like you said I owned that education and am pretty proud of it!

    I guess the sad thing is that there is not a lot of outside encouragement for kids to go to school beyond high school. There needs to be more options and financial aid available to make that dream a reality.

  3. Great post and amazing page!!

  4. Life, destiny, will find a way. I'm sure of it. She's too bright, you're too wonderful, as a family, for the Universe not to respond and place her somewhere stimulating and nourishing. Have faith (however hard that may be). Praying for you.

  5. I am so sorry for your daughter. I had the same problem as a student, and just like you it was because of my parents divorce. It is unfair. but I am happy to be where I am now. I wouldn't want another job! I pray that she will be able to make the most of her wonderful abilites and that she will feel fulfilled in her working life, later. Scrapbooking as a therapy works wonders!! this layout is gorgeous!

  6. I also believe that Z will end up somewhere where she will make the very most she can of the educational opportunities available to her. And, I think we all know that sometimes not getting what we thought we wanted and/or deserved merely turns out to be just another divergent path that God has prepared for us if we trust Him. Good luck to you all. We will be in your shoes next year.

  7. Absolutely love everything about this page: the message, design, symbolism, colors (they even match your logo), layers and the twisting & turning "safety" string. Thank you! Whatever path she chooses, she will do well (especially with a mother like you).

  8. love this layout, jill! and since i've read ahead in your blog, i know that things worked out for z! congrats!!!